Monday, 14 July 2014

Wo Wo Tou - Chinese Fusion Restaurant

Wo Wo Tou is the name of the this new Chinese Restaurant's specialty dish - steamed bun made with corn and soy flour. The waitress also mentioned that there is pumpkin in it as well. The bun has a hole in it where you can put in fillings.

Wo Wo Tou also happens to double as the name of the restaurant too, as you might have noticed from the title of the post!

This is actually the first time I've seen this Northern Eastern Chinese dish, and this sense of novelty actually  extends to a lot of the other dishes from Wo Wo Tou's extensive menu which comprises of dishes from various parts of China. The "fusion" bit, I guess, means Thai-Chinese fusion to suit the taste of local Thais.

This is probably what sets this restaurant apart from other Chinese restaurants in Chiang Mai - You can try a lot of dishes here that's not available (as far as I know!) else where in Chiang Mai.

Ok..on with the review.. first dish.. Wo Wo Tou. The buns are served steaming hot, and are slightly chewy with a smooth texture and slightly sweet taste. A little heavier than mantou (Chinese steamed buns). You can choose between 3 fillings - catfish, pork or chicken, all stir-fried with pickled mustards, garlic, scallion, parsley and spices. We chose the pork, which was very nice. The filling is quite strong in flavour - salty and a bit sweet,  and the more prominent sourness from the pickled mustard, which goes very well with the buns. There is a bit of sauce from the stir-fry, which makes the whole thing nice and juicy. 220 bath for the set (with 4 buns). Extra buns cost 10 baht each.

It's also interesting to note that this restaurant also focuses on the fact that food can be used as medicine and the menu tells us what each dish is good for. For example, wo wo tou works as a kidney tonic.


The Spicy Tofu is pretty much the regular mapo tofu. Given the name, I thought it would be quite spicy, but the flavour is quite mild (for me!). The fermented soy beans add a depth and richness to the dish. 180 baht.

This dish is good for "menopause and prevents many diseases such as cancer, blood clot..".


Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli - This one is for people who loves strong spicy flavour.. and as a bonus, you get the mouth and lip numbing, tingling  "ma-la" flavour from Sichuan cuisine. "Ma" is the Chinese term for the numbing effect from sichuan peppers. "La" means spicy. May be the numbness helps us to eat more chilli!

In this dish, the meat from the chicken thigh is fried with the sichuan peppers, salt, and heaps of roasted chillies. My mouth and lips were left slight numb and and quite tingly after eating the chicken. Loved it! 190 baht.

This dish, according to the menu, is great for reducing blood sugar level and increasing blood flow.


There are a lot of other interesting sounding dishes as well, including Over the Bridge Noodles (a Yunnan dish), Frog Spicy Soup, Fried Duck Mouth (!). For the not so adventurous, there are also "normal" sounding dishes as Mushroom Salad, Sweet Potato Soup, Sweet and Sour Fish...

The restaurant, in addition to serving good food, is also nicely furnished. The outdoor section is lovely, and overlooks a stream and bushes. The only complaint I would have is that it's right on the busy Mae Jo Rd, so it can get a bit noisy from the cars zooming past.

If you look closely at the top left photo (below), you may notice some fans under the seats on the edge of the restaurant. Very interesting! I guess it would be nice sitting there on a hot day...our legs certainly won't get hot...and it might also work as a mosquito repellant too (I guess!).


All in all a nice restaurant. Lovely ambience, good interesting food not found else where.

Price wise:  Around 180 baht/person. I think the prices are quite reasonable for the quality.

The serving size is OK (not huge, but acceptable). It would be nice if the portions are a bit bigger.

Wo Wo Tou 
203 Moo 6  T. Faham, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai
(Mae Jo-Phrao Rd)
Tel: 053 246 777
Hours: 10am-10pm daily
Facebook page

Direction: Coming from the city towards Mae Jo University, take the 1st U-turn after Meechok Plaza / Ruamchoke Market. Stay in the left lane. The restaurant is between Suan Nonsee Restaurant (the restaurant with the lake in front) and Lotus Supermarket.

There are a few parking spots in front of the building.


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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Fongkaew Kafe

Having followed Appleeyes's rather delicious looking food photos (especially of her cakes!) on Instagram for a little while, I decided to try her little cafe in the north eastern corner of the Old City - Fongkaew Kafe.

Fongkaew Kafe is in a set of shop houses in an area with lots of guest houses, and has a nice selection of drinks priced from around 40-65 baht. Cakes are around this price range as well.

This is their specialty drink - The Expresso Bomb. Frozen expresso balls in a sugar dispenser, served with milk, which you pour over the cinnamon stick to give a hint of cinnamon flavour. As the frozen expresso melts, the drink becomes more and more bitter. Honey is also served with the "bomb" in case it gets too strong! 65 baht. I didn't drink this one, but my friend said it was good!


The cakes are very good too! We chose the Coconut Cake -  very moist and smooth cake, full of coconut flavour, especially yummy with the creamy coconut sauce that's served with it.

The Red Velvet cake is also very good - nice and moist and has a lovely smooth, velvety texture with cream cheese topping.

The great thing I found about the cakes are not too sweet, just the way I like them!


The cafe itself is lovely and comfortable.. A nice place to hangout with friends!


Fongkaew Kafe
Turn left and Moonmeung Soi 9, after 20m, turn right into a soi full of shop houses.
Opens: Tue-Sun 8:30am-7pm
Tel: 085 107 8387

Facebook page


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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Ratsstube German Restaurant

I was very excited to see a flyer in Rimping Meechok Plaza about a new German restaurant that recently opened in Moo Baan Tanawan.

The flyer described the food so deliciously and I was transported back a couple of years ago when I went to Munich & Vienna... German pork knuckle, Vienna Schnitzel, Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce.... Mmmmm.... so of course, I have to give it a try.


First impressions. The restaurant is rather grand and opulent. Filled with antique treasures, Ratsstube feels rather formal, but the wait staff and owner are very friendly and welcoming. The lovely Thai owner explains that she learnt the recipes served at the restaurant from a dear friend who owns Ratsstube Bangkok.

Everything here is home made, including the sausages, mustard and salad dressings.



On with the food!

The German Pork Knuckle is fantastic. Apparently (if I remember what the owner said correctly), the pork knuckle is marinated in pink salt and herbs for several days, then "boiled" at a very low temperature for a while, then frozen. When there's an order, the pork knuckle is taken out of the freezer and heated up slowly, then deep fried (I think). The result is fantastic crispy skin (YUM!), and super tender pork that is pretty much falling off the bone. Served with very nice potatoes and sauerkraut. 490 baht.


To go with all that meat, we need some vegetables! The Mixed Salad with the three home made dressings is also great. Fresh and crispy veggies. The dressings, I think, are Italian, French and Thousand Island. 80 baht.


....and more meat! Mixed Sausage Plate with Home-fries and Sauerkraut. These are all homemade, according to the owner. Very nice, and again, loved the potatoes. 490 baht


There are loads of other dishes on the menu that I'd love to try, like the Vienna Schnitzel - I really want to see as it's as good as the one I had in Vienna (which was amazing)!

The dessert is very tempting too - like the Apple Strudel with Warm Vanilla Sauce... but I was just too full to eat any more.

Thai food is served here as well, but I haven't even looked at the Thai menu.

I must go back!

Ratsstube Chiang Mai
197 Moo Baan Tanawan
T. Sanphiseur, A. Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 230 388
Mob: 081 640 5884
Facebook 

Opens:
Tue-Fri 10:30am-2pm & 4:30pm-10pm
Sat & Sun 10:30am-10pm
Closed on Mondays.

GPS location: 18.827712,99.004616



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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Eating Out in Singapore - Mellben Seafood

OK.. This is supposed to be a blog about restaurants in Chiang Mai, but I hope you'll forgive me for putting in a review about this one in Singapore. The crab was so delicious that I have to tell everyone about it.

It began with a trip to Singapore a few years ago. My uncle took me to this rather unassuming but packed restaurant in Ang Mo Kio. I've been raving about the crab ever since, so on my recent trip to Singapore, crab at Mellben Seafood was the order of the trip...and I wasn't disappointed.


The Butter Crab was such a dream.. smooth and creamy finger licking buttery and slightly spicy sauce, which can be cleaned off with deep fried mantou (chinese buns).


The crab was huge and of course very fresh with firm, sweet meat. Check out the claw!


Mellben's most famous dish is the Crab Bee Hoon - crab in milky soup and noodles. This is what I had last time, and it was still very lovely with the naturally sweet soup that I had to drink slowly to savour the taste the last drop.

You can also order extra soup and noodles without the crab too!


Both crab were great, but I liked the Butter Crab more mainly because of the rich sauce.

Mellben does have non-crab dishes as well, like various types of veggies, and this wonderful fried pork ribs with salted eggs which gives a nice and flavourful coating to the ribs. Mmm..


So if you're in Singapore and craving crab, I would highly recommend Mellben. It's a bit out of the way though, so you may need to take a taxi. They also have some other branches too, but the original restaurant is at Ang Mo Kio. 

They do take bookings now, so it's a good idea to reserve your table before you go... but as the restaurant is so popular, be prepared to wait a bit even though you've made reservations. The other option is to turn up and wait in the queue! 



Mellben Seafood
232 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 (St 22)
Singapore
Tel: +65 6285 6762 
Opens daily: 5pm-11pm


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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Talom Culture Cuisine (Northern Thai & Thai food)


I drove past this very good restaurant in a garden setting many times and never thought of stopping by. It's relatively new and a little bit unknown, I think, as I never see a lot of people there when I go. I've visited few times already, and I find the food great, prices reasonable...and grandma loves it too!

Talom does Northern Thai food and Thai food. As Northern Thai food isn't our specialty, we relied on our excellent and knowledgable waiter a lot...and all the dishes he suggested were great!

Spicy Roasted Fish Dip (Nam Prik Pla Jee) - This is a bit like the green chilli dip (Nam prik noom) mixed with mashed up grilled fish. Lovely, a touch spicy and and served with steamed vegetables. 65 baht.


Deep fried Pla Nin with Garlic  (Pla nin = a type of fish) - this was fantastic. The fish was very nicely done, and the meat was lovely and soft. Very, very nice! 190 baht.


Gaeng Pak Wan with Dried Fish & Vermicelli - "Pak wan" is a local vegetable. This soup is for the adventurous only! The flavour is quite good, but I think it contains "Pla ra" or fermented fish, which I'd say is an acquired taste.  A lot of westerners may not like this one. 85 baht.


Pak Chiang Da Stir-fried with Egg. "Pak Chiang Da" is a type of local vegetable. Very nice when stir-fried with egg- slightly bitter and salty flavour. 75 baht.


All in all a very nice and enjoyable meal. There are heaps of other dishes on the menu, so if these dishes don't appeal to you, then there are lots more to choose from!

I've been to Talom a few times, and the food has been very good and consistent, and the price very reasonable.

The bill for 6 people came to 985 baht (only about 160 baht each)!

Open air area 
Indoor dining ...and lots of wines to choose from too!

Talom Culture Cuisine
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Talom-chiangmai/490487534373167
413 Moo 6, Sanphiseur, Chiang Mai
Opens: 5-11pm except Mondays.
Next to Nakorn Payap International School



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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Magical Garden Cafe

It was a nice breezy night as we entered an lovely cafe with several bamboo salas scattered around the leafy garden. Each sala has a name on it - these are gifts from generous donors from Singapore who supported the Magical Light Foundation, a non-religious, non-profit organisation that is dedicated to building schools for underprivileged children in Northern Thailand and Myanmar. The proceeds from Magical Garden Cafe is used to support Magical Light Foundation's projects to help educate local and hill-tribe children.



Within 6 months of opening, Magical Garden Cafe has shot up to rank no 6 of listed restaurants in Chiang Mai on TripAdvisor. I was curious if the cafe lived up to its fame when my trusty foodie friends took me to have dinner there.

The ambience was certainly very nice and relaxed. Peter and Shii Hua, the people behind the foundation and the cafe, were very friendly. The food by Chef Noi, a local Thai chef, was great. The food did come out quite slowly, but was worth the wait.

First up to quench our thirst - Strawberry Fruit Shake. 55 baht. Nice and refreshing blend of strawberries and ice, very thick, almost like a thick shake! Didn't have to ask for "mai wan" ("not sweet"). I wouldn't mind some now, actually.. since it's been SO hot!


The spicy fries (45 baht). Very nicely done, dusted with paprika to give a slight punch (very slight!). The Seasonal Greens salad (85 baht) - very fresh and lovely with the honey mustard dressing. There are also two other choices of dressings - Thai and Oriental Soy Sauce. 


The Bruschetta (75 baht)  - Tomato and Basil & Mashed Eggplant with hard boiled egg served on Toasted Baguette. The tomato and basil bruschetta was very good, but I loved the mashed eggplant with hard boiled egg.. that was WOW!  I was quite amazed that eggplants and eggs go so well together!


The Hummus was lovely too. (75 baht). You have a choice of chickpeas, broccoli, or roasted tomatoes hummus, served with cucumber and carrot sticks. We opted for the chickpea hummus, which was really great.


Magical Garden Cafe also has some Thai dishes. We had the Crispy Morning Glory Salad. (65 baht) which consisted of deep fried morning glory leaves in a Thai dressing - tangy, slightly spicy, salty, all in one. Very nice and loved the crunch!


The verdict:

I really like Magical Garden Cafe. The ambience is lovely, and the food is great too! The servings are on the small size (more like snack sizes), but that also means we can try many dishes. The food did come out quite slowly, so please be patient. Very nice, dedicated, friendly staff.

The proceeds, as mentioned earlier, does go to a great cause to help underprivileged children get an education, and Peter and Shii Hua are doing an excellent job keeping everything running.

If you would like to volunteer or help in anyway, please talk to Peter and Shii Hua. They would really appreciate it, so will the children!

Magical Garden Cafe
24 Sriwichai Rd,
Suthep, Chiang Mai 50220
(Behind Wat Suan Dok)
Tel: 093 135 3288
Opens daily (Except Wednesdays) 5pm-10pm
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/magicalgardencafe/

Note: Magical Garden Cafe will be close during Songkran 2014 for renovations. Please check their Facebook page for details!



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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Midnight Fried Chicken / Sticky Rice

Hungry late at night? Look no further than this institution that has been in Chiang Mai pretty much forever...Midnight Sticky Rice / Fried Chicken. Opens from 11pm-5am!

Notice I'm mixing up the name.. just because it's pretty much known as Midnight Fried Chicken (or rather, the Thai equivalent of it!), but many people also call them Midnight Sticky Rice.


The place was packed when we arrived at around 11:40 pm.


Midnight Fried Chicken provides the standard lanna (Northern Thai) fare including Nam Prik Noom (Green chilli dip),  and fried dishes including chicken (of course), pork, intestines, saiua (Northern Thai sausages),  boiled duck eggs, ....


My favourite was the deep fried 3 layer pork (50 baht - small plate) - very tasty! The chicken (50-55 baht - small plate) was also very good, but I would love it to be hot when served. Really liked the deep fried intestines too (25 baht - small plate)... a bit crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. Nam Prik Noom (Green chilli dip) was also very good.

Notice no eating utensils here.. we eat the Northern Thai way.. with our fingers. Pick up the sticky rice and then pick up the chilli dip. Finger licking good!

The price worked out to be about 100 baht/person. A very satisfying meal and we were all ready for bed after filling up our very hungry stomachs!

Midnight Fried Chicken
Kamphaengdin Rd
Near Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and just down the road from Imperial Mae Ping Hotel.
Opens 11pm-5am.
Check out their facebook page for details of other branches!





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